July 31: Horrendous editorial
It is not necessary for your editorial board to wait until Yom Kippur to ask for forgiveness for this outrageous editorial.
Sir, – I was amazed to see your horrendous editorial “Tisha
Be’av’s meaning” (July 29). It was chutzpah to blaspheme the beliefs of millions
of Jews (including most of your readers) by referring to the Temple merely as a
“holy slaughterhouse” and suggest, referring to Tisha Be’av, that the rabbis
“call the whole fast off.”
Tisha Be’av is the national day of mourning
for the numerous tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people, beginning with
the sin of the spies, which led to 40 years of exile in the desert, and the
destruction of both the First Temple and the Second Temple. On this day
believing Jews recite kinot (lamentations) not only for the loss of the two
temples but for numerous other tragedies in Jewish history, such as the
slaughter by the Romans of the ten martyrs, the massacres of the Jewish martyrs
of York, the Crusades, Chmielnicki, the burning of the Talmud in Paris and, of
course, the Holocaust.
These may not seem important to your editorial
board but they are of extreme importance to sensitive, believing Jews all over
the world. The remarks in your editorial are extremely demeaning not only to the
Jewish people, but, I must believe, to most if not all of the people whose names
appear on your masthead.
It is not necessary for your editorial board to
wait until Yom Kippur to ask for forgiveness for this outrageous
editorial. They can – and should – do it immediately.
Sir, – The Jerusalem Post has always been supportive of
Jewish holidays. That is why I was shocked when I read “Tisha Be’av’s
At a time when hundreds of thousands of Jews were fasting and
praying in memory of the exile and the destruction of the Temples, the writer of
the editorial, in a very untimely manner, suggested that the observance of Tisha
Be’av be abandoned or at least revised to deal instead with contemporary social
The writer describes the Temple as a “holy slaughter house” – a
crudeness based on ignorance and totally offensive to Jews who revere the memory
of the Temple. The true designation of the sacred sanctuary is to be found in
the verse: “For my house shall be called a house of prayer by all the nations of
the world” (Isaiah 56:7).
Citing the Rambam’s rationalization for animal
sacrifices is not relevant to Tisha Be’av, which did not require any special
The writer makes a great deal of the fact that the observance
of Tisha Be’av this year was delayed to the tenth of the month and was thus less
The tenth of Av is an intrinsic part of the Tisha Be’av period
because when the Temple was set on fire on the ninth, the flames burned
throughout the day of the tenth. Many Tisha Be’av observances are carried out
during the tenth day of Av even in regular calendar years.
Last, but not
least, when the writer proposes that the day be dedicated to current problems in
Jewish history, it should be noted that Tisha Be’av prayers do not stop with the
They continue to bewail ruthless killing of Jews during the past
The kinot include prayers mourning the dead in the crusades,
and lately prayers have been added to bemoan the destruction of millions of Jews
in the Holocaust, whose memory is still fresh in the minds of many Tisha Be’av
The writer is a rabbi
Sir, – Hooray to Liat Collins for “Jerusalem calling...” (My Word, July
29) on the subject of the BBC’s convenient elimination of Jerusalem as Israel’s
capital. She exquisitely expressed what many of us expats, not only from the UK
but from the US, feel when our former landsmen attempt to rewrite
It is confusing and conflicting to repeatedly find ourselves in
a position in which our former nation of residence takes a stand opposing our
present state of affairs. We often feel we must make excuses for, defend or
explain that stand. Whoever said it was easy to be a Jew? This conflict of
identities is nothing new to Jews, even within our own state. Thank God for our
children, the sabras, who seem to lack this conflict of identities. Collins
handled this beautifully in her eloquent article and in so doing strengthened
the rest of us.
Just as the popular claim once was that the earth is
flat, so it is with Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish nation. Despite
popular opinion, it shall remain so until the end of days.
Last signs of Britain
Sir, – The letter suggesting the renaming of
Jerusalem’s King George Street (“Street signs,” July 29) is so obvious it never
should have had to be written.
It also contains an erroneous phrase:
“surely the time has come.” The time came with the dawn of the day that
Jerusalem was again the Jewish capital of the State of Israel, when landmarks of
Britain’s infamy should have been the first order of governmental
Words are the power that tunes minds. Changing the name of
every British-named street can be a germinal incentive to vitalizing Jewish
pride and moral strength at a time when it is existentially
And it’s too vitally important for being a bureaucratic
The Post must immediately hoist the banner to help make it a
major public issue and commitment.
Sir, – How typical of this government to propose an increase in VAT
during the summer holidays, when every schoolchild in the land is taken by a
parent or grandparent to purchase the long list of textbooks, supplies and
clothing without which they cannot start the new school year (“VAT set to rise
at least 1%,” July 25).
Many other countries also charge VAT. But in the
UK, for example, there is exemption on children’s clothing and school supplies,
as well as on textbooks.
Isn’t it time the Education Ministry enforced a
code for purchasing these supplies whereby schools would make wholesale orders
and distribute them on the first day of the new term? If Israel boasts about
free education, these supplies should be distributed free or purchased at
minimal wholesale prices. However, that might be too much to expect from a
government that buys expensive cars and creates superfluous ministerial
Sir, – We all know that the government
needs to raise taxes and that raising the value added tax from 16 percent to 17%
is the easiest way to increase income. But it will hit hardest those who are
least able to pay.
The tax has a more direct effect upon the people in
the lowest income bracket and is going to rise without a whimper being heard
from the social justice protestors or anyone with a moral conscience. Writing a
letter is all I am able to do to raise my own voice in protest.
Disagrees on coverage
Sir, – Martin Woker (“Criticism
unwarranted,” Letters, July 24) is in favor of a free media. This, however, does
not mean freedom to present onesided articles and comments guided by an
anti-Israel point of view.
Looking at the reporting of the Neue Zürcher
Zeitung on Israel, including the West Bank, I cannot share the positive opinion
of those “trusted professionals” who were asked to review it. Such a review must
also consider articles from leftist Israelis invited to write in the
Instead of getting comments from the other side, the NZZ simply